With the aftertaste of Heaven still strong, Pen and Azael cloak themselves in their new demonic destinies, fighting for Lucifer against the angels. Pen, warring against former friends turned vengeful enemies, still struggles with defecting to Hell. But in one short battle, they go from forgotten to famous, thrust into the spotlight where she has no room for uncertainty.
Suddenly top-tiered demons, they’re tasked with seeing through hell’s new agenda: corrupting man. But tarnishing Eden isn’t as simple as they thought it would be, especially when they’re forced to work with another team of demons who are trying to claw their way up the ladder of power.
About the author:
Erica Crouch is from the always colorful city of Baltimore. Currently, she is studying English and Creative Writing with a specialization in Fiction at Southern New Hampshire University. She is the cofounder and head of editorial services at Patchwork Press. Her debut novel, Ignite, was published June 2013. The e-novella sequel, Entice, is due November 2013, and the last book in the series, Incite, is expected Spring of 2014. Along with the YA series Ignite, she is working on publishing a New Adult series, titled the Undying series, with the first installment, Cut, due 2014. When Erica isn’t writing, she’s reading an overwhelming stack of books, watching an obscene amount of Netflix, and procrastinating.
I’m trapped in a sea of screams. The cries of war swell and break like turbulent waves, pulling back for a breath before raging forward again to knock me off my feet and drown me under the noise. Voices claw desperately, a greedy symphony of agony that comes from every direction, and I can’t separate out one wail from another. They all merge into one horrifying howl so loud I’m surprised my eardrums haven’t begun to bleed.
Maybe they have; there’s blood everywhere. Who’s to say some of it isn’t mine?
I swing out with my dagger and cut an angel across her cheek. She retaliates, quickly loading a small golden slingshot with molten rocks. Her thin fingers wrap around the weapon and she draws it back, her muscles tense. I spot her mistake before she does, and when she lets the sling go, the rocks soar past me, striking one of her comrades. A slight miscalculation, and I live. The angel she struck, however, is not so lucky. His wings catch on fire, and the demon he was locked in battle with uses the distraction to deliver the final blow.
Her eyes grow wide with horror. A scream begins to bloom on her lips but I pluck away her voice before it flowers, plunging my dagger deep into her chest. She falls to the ground, and I turn away from her just in time to see another angel charging me with a long spear that is dripping in already spilled blood. His eyes are feral and dark, and I duck just before the spear skewers me, sending him toppling to the ground.
Sprawled on his back, the tan angel looks up at me and we lock eyes. Faintly, in the deep recesses of my mind, I recognize him. I know you. And he knows me—but it didn’t stop him from trying to kill me.
I try not to think about what I’m doing, who I’m killing. Burying the thoughts under the screams and making them incoherent is easier than acknowledging the lives I take. I scramble forward and put my boot on his chest, pinning him down to slit his throat.
I add two more tallies in my mind to document their deaths. Five thousand twenty-four.